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Lawyer: Palestinian hunger-striker Muhammad al-Qiq is dying

Feb. 24, 2016 11:49 A.M. (Updated: April 15, 2016 4:38 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Imprisoned Palestinian hunger-striker Muhammad al-Qiq could die at at any moment, one of his lawyers said Wednesday, warning that he could no longer breath easily and was suffering severe pain.

Hiba Masalha, a lawyer for the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners' Affairs, said that after 92 days on hunger strike, al-Qiq's body had "collapsed," and he was suffering severe cramps and stiffness, sight problems, a low heart rate, and was unable to talk.

She said doctors in HaEmek Medical Center in Afula were observing the hunger-striker carefully and anticipating his death at any moment.

She said that even if al-Qiq lived, it was unlikely he would ever fully recovery from the colossal damage his body has suffered over the course of his grueling protest.

Masalha said Israel's "irresponsible" position on his hunger strike had demonstrated that the state did not value human life.

Al-Qiq, a 33-year-old journalist from the southern occupied West Bank, initially went on hunger strike in late November to protest the torture and ill-treatment he said he faced in Israeli custody.

However, his protest quickly developed into another bid to challenge Israel's use of administrative detention -- internment without trial or charge.

Numerous Palestinian prisoners have undertaken hunger strikes to protest the controversial practice, including last year Khader Adnan and Muhammad Allan, who were both close to death by the time Israel agreed to their release.

Countless international bodies, including the UN and European Union, have now condemned Israel for its continued incarceration of al-Qiq, as well as Israel's use of administrative detention for some 660 Palestinian prisoners.

Earlier this month, Israel's Supreme Court ruled to temporarily "suspend" al-Qiq's administrative detention, but said it would be reinstated if his health improved.

Amnesty International criticized the ruling, saying it appeared to be "a mere gesture, designed to offer the illusion of freedom to prompt al-Qiq to end his hunger strike."

Palestinian Prisoners’ Society head Qadura Fares warned at the beginning of February that the Israeli security establishment believes it has "nothing to lose" by allowing al-Qiq to die.
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